Rohingya Without Myanmar ID Not Being Given COVID-19 Jab: Junta

By The Irrawaddy 13 August 2021

The Rohingya, the stateless Muslim community in Rakhine State, are not yet included in the regime’s national vaccination program, according to the military authorities.

“They are not on the vaccination list for the time being. Priority is given to citizens under state policy. We will vaccinate all the citizens regardless of their religion and race. As vaccines are bought with public funds, citizens have to be given priority,” said U Hla Thein, spokesman for the state’s military governing body.

Non-citizens are not on the list because people are registered for vaccination based on their citizenship IDs and the regime’s policy is to prioritize citizens, said U Hla Thein, who is also the state’s advocate general.

The regime, however, is providing COVID-19 treatment to everyone, he said.

COVID-19 cases have been reported in several displacement camps in the state capital, Sittwe, according to community leaders.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have been sheltering in camps along the Sittwe coast since sectarian strife targeted the Muslim community in 2012. Some make a living fishing, farming and doing casual work while the majority rely on international aid.

“We have not yet received COVID-19 jabs. We want them. The township general administration department has asked us to register the over-65s and we have given it the list. But we have heard nothing about when we can receive jabs,” a Muslim leader told The Irrawaddy.

Rakhine Women Network chairwoman Daw Nyo Aye said everyone should have access to the COVID-19 vaccine on humanitarian grounds.

“COVID-19 is a pandemic and everyone should be vaccinated, regardless of their color, race and creed. This disease is highly infectious. They [the Rohingya] should also receive vaccinations,” she told The Irrawaddy.

Myanmar has so far received 4.5 million COVID-19 doses from China and the regime has been vaccinating over-65s across the country.

Rakhine State has so far received 90,000 doses and the supplies for Maungdaw are being shared between both communities, said Maungdaw district superintendent Dr. Nu Cathy San.

“In Maungdaw, we are inoculating the priority population groups, including Muslims, aged over 65. We vaccinate anyone over 65. Some Muslims have citizenship ID cards and some have national verification cards. We register them based on their ID,” she told The Irrawaddy.

More than 3,400 COVID-19 cases were reported with 290 deaths in Rakhine since late May when the current outbreak began, according to the state’s military authorities.

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